Barcelona are moving with aggression this summer. They finished 13 points behind champions Real Madrid in La Liga last season and had to watch their greatest rivals lift the Champions League afterwards. That’s unacceptable at a club like Barcelona and Joan Laporta has made it his business to give Xavi Hernández the tools he needs to cut that gap and return Barcelona to where they belong.
And he’s delivering on that remit with online casino real money. Franck Kessie has been brought in from Scudetto-winning Milan on a free transfer, as has talented Danish centre-back Andreas Christensen from Chelsea. Barcelona then beat Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur to the signature of Brazilian international Raphinha from Leeds United – and they’re not finished yet. Deals for Robert Lewandowski, Jules Koundé, César Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso are all progressing.
Incomings have been paired with decisive activity in terms of outgoings. Quite a lot of fat has been trimmed – Ferran Jutglà has left for Club Brugge, Francisco Trincão has returned home to join Sporting Club de Portugal, Clement Lenglet has signed for Tottenham and Frenkie de Jong could be on his way to Manchester United. The likes of Samuel Umtiti, Riqui Puig and Miralem Pjanić could also soon be on their way to pastures new.
And for that there’s reason for real optimism. Madrid have been precise and careful in adding to their squad, sharpening their tools rather than calling for revolution. They’ve brought in two top-class operators in Antonio Rüdiger and Aurélien Tchouaméni and will be stronger in 2022/23. But the chaos at Barcelona has lended to a sense of giddy excitement amongst a fanbase that doesn’t need too much encouragement in the first place. Should Laporta pull off all the business he intends to, that could go into overdrive.
Because the possibilities are endless. The idea of Ronald Araújo and Koundé starting together at the heart of Barcelona’s defence is thrilling – that’s a perfectly-balanced partnership, a blend of technique and tenacity, that could be on lock for the next decade. Pedri and Gavi have already established themselves as two of the most exciting teenagers in the European game, but now they have a player as accomplished – and underrated – as Kessie to alternate with as well as the uber-experienced Sergio Busquets.
As for that front line – it’s positively mouthwatering. Lewandowski is one of the most lethal goalscorers on God’s green earth and the choice of Raphinha, Ousmane Dembélé, Ferran Torres and Ansu Fati coming in off the wide areas is tantalising. There’s an incredible amount of potential.
And in Xavi, Barcelona have a principled coach who’s in complete control of his squad. Laporta can be an unpopular character amongst many, and is sure to have ruffled feathers with his efforts to convince current players to reduce their salaries while simultaneously bringing in fresh meat to compete with them for minutes. But there’s a clear separation at the club between the institution and the first team – and Xavi is in control of the latter.